Ask Toi: How do you tell someone about your will and whom your kids will go if you should die and it’s not them?

Well this was an interesting question this morning.

The back story for my readers is the husband and Wife made their wills to include who their young children should go to in their death…..the grandparents are upset they weren’t chosen….

First of all I pray that you are here for your children and this will never have to go into an active plan. However the reality of your children not going to either parents is a harsh reality. Parents being a caregiver after they have raised their own kids isn’t always an ideal situation. Age of your parents, their health, how active they are with their own grandkids and suitability doesn’t always match title. You need to take into consideration how you were raised and how the grandparents interact with the kids to play a major role in them being chosen.

There should be many factors in making that hard decision. It shouldn’t be based upon friendships or family relationships to be honest with you. It should be about whom aligns the best with you and your husband’s parenting style and who will give your children the same type of lifestyle that you would if you were still here. You can’t choose people to raise your children in your place just based on relationships.

Also how often does the children interact with whomever your choosing? How active are they involved with the kids? These things matter. Think about you not being here, your kids being devastated and then having to live with people they know only in title. If whomever you’re choosing hasn’t made efforts to be in the kids’ lives they shouldn’t be at the top of the list. Also one of the biggest things to think about is how whomever you choose deals with discipline. Discipline is a major compartment in who you choose. If someone doesn’t align with you and your husband than they shouldn’t be on the list. Also factors with age and appropriateness needs to be within your decision making process as well.

So although either parents don’t make the list you can approach it in the sense of being honest with them. Let them know that you love them and you want this decision to be in the best interest of the children involved. Parenting is hard and sometimes hard decisions have to be made. You can talk as little as you want about the choice.

Know that they will be upset. There is no way around it. They will be offended that you come off feeling that their parenting is not enough. This is what they feel. Even if it’s true you have a right to feel the way you do. They will think that you don’t value what they taught you and it’s not good enough for your kids. Some parents may come off rash and demonstrate further why they weren’t chosen by being even more disconnected to their kids. Either way you have to find a way to take all of these things into consideration but still make the decisions for the kids at hand that matter!!

Ultimately whatever chooses you make is dependent on you and your husband and as long as you can live with the decisions, everyone else around you will have no choice but to accept it. Also even though you have not chosen the grandparents, still apply the same logic in whom you do select.

Advertisements

The Worst Advice I Have Ever Received…

So I think bad advice is any advice that is strictly from another person that doesn’t take into account your life. There is not one word that fits everyone. We think that just because it seems like good advice that it will work out all the same. But that is not the case. Just like with life advice seems to be work out differently and varies from person to person.

So let’s get to it…..having children is so super natural that after you birth them you know exactly what to do. It is not as natural as everyone makes it out to be. At least not for me. I knew how to do the basics, but there are a lot of things that comes with having children that didn’t feel as authentic as the books and folks makes it sound. Let me squash all the folks that would love to try to “go up on Tuesday,” I love all 3 of my children. So let’s squash that now. It was never lack of love but lack of mothering skills that I thought I wouldn’t be enough for them.

mothers

My pregnancy with each of my children were all different. Each pregnancy came with their own sets of issues. The bonding with each child also was different too. That is fine as I believe to this day that the difference with having 3 kids should always be taken into consideration with how they are raised. However when you add in the birthing experience and nursing, pumping or bottle feeding and all the things you must quickly learn, the natural instinct didn’t kick in like folks tried to sell me. Some folks said once the baby was out of your womb you would just feel like you had been having kids all your life. I have to STAWP you there, that didn’t happen. I felt like I was tired all of my life. I felt like I was overwhelmed all my life. I felt like I was not prepared all my life, but not one time did I feel like a champ of motherhood just from birthing my kids. I needed so much guidance. I got to shout out the mothers.  I don’t mean just women who have babies. I am talking about the old mothers that we lack today. It’s rare to find a mother of Zion like the old folks used to call them that would give you advice, had enough tenacity to listen, and be there for younger mothers. You see that, teach AND listen. It’s a lost art.

We love to tell folks that don’t have kids how great it will be. It is great if you are talking about the overall sense of accomplishment. We fail to tell folks the real of what to expect. Handing me my oldest child in the hospital came as a shock.  I didn’t get to connect with her right after birth due to her being premature and that made me feel like I had no clue who she was. I felt more connected to her in the womb than outside. Reality hit me like a ton on bricks. I knew how to feed her and told myself well the other things would come. It did but those first few months as she was sick, listening to everyone tell me what I was supposed to do didn’t feel as organic as everyone suggested.  I really wish I could go back and set a few folks straight about a few things. Having a baby is an outer body experience. There are more times that I felt like I didn’t know what to do or who I was becoming. That has nothing to do with the actual child but the preconception of what I believed as a mother in the early years. News flash, even after the 3rd child I still wondered if I having another one was a good idea. It was obviously, but that feeling of natural instinct is always shuttered by doubt and lack of information.

crescent moon and cloud wind chimes

Photo by NIKOLAY OSMACHKO on Pexels.com

I really hope that other mothers who I KNOW FOR A FACT have gone through this, would be honest. It’s not a lack of love for your child (ren) but its a lack of trusting in yourself or lack of information to the new expectations of motherhood. So let’s mark false to all mothers having this natural nurturing ways about them as soon as they birth. Overtime you get better. Over time you develop what your child needs. So although our womanly body is “made” to birth babies, the mind and the body and the emotions have to link together to make the whole experience better.  I applaud all women to understand that above thinking that it will all just come together like a jigsaw puzzle on its own.

Monday Motivation: Small Nugget Lessons

So if you’re lucky to have odd today on this supposed holiday kudos to you. To the rest of us grabbing our life line I mean coffee cups, we out here surviving! Today I decided to give you some little nuggets to help your Monday progress!

  • Mute on your phone works-there are people you don’t feel like entertaining on your phone mute them. This way you can answer their shenanigans on your time
  • Saying no is just as powerful as a yes
  • If you are involved with someone or something that is a point of anger or issues, end it (it’s your choice to stay)
  • Happiness is a personal job! Stop making folks pay a bill that God gifted you with the sufficiency to pay
  • Step out of faith. Just cause you are scared doesn’t change it being a faith walk nonetheless
  • If you need help ask for it
  • Strength is in finding your purpose not staying in dysfunctional situations
  • Take social media breaks; even if you need to set a timer to help. Too much of it isn’t good
  • Write this week’s goals down-you can’t achieve it without being clear in what the it is
  • Limit foolishness this week
  • Reduce your reality television trust me it does something for you
  • Instead of wishing you had something someone had, find out what you really like or need and focus on that
  • Don’t like your job? Get your resume out there and actively search
  • Work week feels overwhelmed; what can you do to organize the things around you?
  • If you’re a mom and you’re ready to pull your hair, gather your edges and break down your stress to find small solutions until your bigger solution comes
  • If you’re dating someone and the red flags are mounting, don’t ignore them
  • If you’re married and it seems like you’re off base, find ways to change you and pray for your mate. Sometimes small changes in you will inspire them
  • If you’re divorced know that finding a new life isn’t easy but it’s doable!

Enjoy your week! Take control of the things that you can control! Don’t feed into negativity. Drink your water. Work out. Take the steps instead of the elevator. Dedicate to healthier eating habits. Mind your business. Grow your business. Spend time laughing. Find the joy in the bad!!

All of the mentioned above will give you an awesome day and week!!

2018 Light the Night

9 years ago I met this bubbly personality in my girl Jen! We met at work. We quickly clicked. We were even pregnant at the same time and a bond was made. I got a call that Jen was diagnosed with cancer! I was in such disbelief. There was no way she had cancer. She didn’t seem phased she went right into let’s fight it mode. Everyone around her took on the same mindset. It was time to fight!

The family organized to provide food for her while she went through her treatments. Everyone was full hands on deck. She pulled through while losing all of her hair, being tired, being sick but she did it while raising her boys and being a wife. Lymphomanics was made! We came together and we have been walking for at least 5 years! Friday October 5, we came together and walked to help stomp out cancer!

If you don’t know what Light the Night is take some time to read up on the blood cancer, the various types, and how you can help the cause. It is not only dear to me as it was a source of support for Jen, it is also an organization I will probably be behind for years to come!

White lanterns are for survivors.

Red lanterns are for supporters and care givers

Gold or yellow is in memory of someone who unfortunately lost their battle with cancer!

When it’s night the lit lanterns are carried to be a symbolism of the fight that so many are there to stand behind.

One day as we continue to raise money there will be a cure so that people of all ages will never have to get that call that cancer has come calling. It’s a beautiful sea of lanterns walking together!

Thank you to organizations like Light the Night for supporting families like Jen push through. Thank you to the Lymphomanics for still answering the call to continue and forever stand behind Jen and her family. Thank to all who have supported this year and the years of the past. Thank you to my family for supporting me as I travel to attend the walks every year! Thank you Jen for your continued love and support!

Children’s Hospital Parkway 5k

This is the 16th year for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Parkway 5k that benefits children cancer. This was my 1st year running it!

What I loved about it outside of raising money so no child has to deal and endure cancer and its side effect is the people who participate in it. These are families of current and unfortunately some who walk or run in memory of a child who has had cancer. That is heartbreaking to say the least.

To find that kids and their families having to deal with cancer is unimaginable. I didn’t run with a team but as an individual because as a parent I would be devastated if I received cancer’s news. I pray that no one continues to hear those words. Until then I plan on raising money towards these funds to assist families during their time of need.

I want to thank the amazing fellow runners who were beyond super welcoming, energetic and supportive. I also want to thank those who donated! Such an amazing thing to know that there are others in this world who feel the need to support children! All of the sponsors at the run were amazing! I also want to thank my family and friends for being super supportive! Lastly let’s thank the Lord and these knees! I am finding that my knees are at a place where they need them extra stretches but everything I cross that finish line (finished today at 33:11) I’m grateful to be able to do the one thing I love and it’s to run!

Special recognition to Icy Hot for being in the clutch as I begin to wind down!!

Until the next run which is in 6 weeks and my walk next week! Let’s see what these knees can do!! I conquered yet another one!! I’ll be recovering my noodle legs and attempting to set my week straight!!

My Go To’s of Social Media

So you know that social media can be a blessing and a curse. If you are on it to compare your life you will immediately fall into a state of depression and that is something you do not want to do.  You really need to find your daily passions and inspiration. Since making dramatic changes in my life I find that I attract myself to those who are like-minded.  It is also allowing me to naturally cut off those who don’t fit that lifestyle.
Inspiration is all around us. It could be with a conversation as you are passing by. It could be in nature.  I don’t know how many times I have seen something go down and got completely inspired by a bird.  It’s true. You can be inspired by social media and a post. The post I love is anything where flaws are exposed but hope abounds. People are looking for hope because all around them they might be surrounded by hopeless people or even hopeless thoughts. This world is super shiny and pretty all the time but it can shed a little light to add some light to a dark soul. In reality that is what we are supposed to be.  When people see you, they should see light. It doesn’t mean they need to see perfection.  They need to see your try. They need to know they can quit a job that wasn’t serving them and go on to bigger and better. They need to see someone leaving a raggedy marriage and not settle and even if another relationship isn’t around the corner they still know they will be fine. They need to see that parenting is super hard and trying, but with grace they can make it.

backlit beach clouds dark

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As a blogger I of course love social media because it allows me to put my blogs out, connect with others, and really see people doing their thing as they see me doing the same. You can have people or things that you like or that inspire you.   I have a little small listing of the things that inspire me.  From home improvements, to celebrations for my kids, anything self-care, and of course people who are doing their thing, failing I said that correctly, dusting themselves off and pushing through. Everything we see on social media has a back story to it.  With that being said I will give you 4 women I find inspiring and tell you why!

Amanda Seales

One because she “be knowing.” If you follow her I don’t even have to explain it.  She is a champion for the culture and she is about as real as it gets.  She rarely sugar coats things and you know that’s how I live my life. I love her ability to be herself and she doesn’t appear to care if you or me like her or not.  She is a jewel.  I love her happiness.   I love her passions. I love that Amanda is always pushing for people to take accountability. I hope that accountability doesn’t become a lost art.  We really need it.  She makes me check myself on all levels but especially where politics and culture is concerned. Like a mirror that constantly asks that nagging why.  Although she is not nagging she will make you think and correct yourself quick.  Amanda is like my big sis or that bomb friend who serves it straight but also is someone who can relate to you without judging everything you do. And she plays Tiffany on HBO’s Insecure.  I love her character. That losing your friends with motherhood episode was real! Amanda been in the game a long time. Check her credentials.  She really is about this life and about the culture.  She is the culture! Check out her podcasts, Small Doses and then follow her on social media you won’t be disappointed. Also if you are on Instagram and you follow her, always and I mean always catch her Instastories daily, Amanda Seales

Randi Rossario

She is the owner of the internet radio show, “Oh So Radio.” She has alot of things on her plate you really should check her out! She is super dope and I found her one day at work on break with her “Good Day” inspirational moments. You might have seen her recently on the Shaderoom’s post about her helping a couple who’s wedding was semi ruined due to their child nearly drowning at a pool party.  Well above her ability to help those in need, her “Good Day” inspirations really moves me. Now let me warn a few stuffy folks, this ain’t your momma’s inspirational moment but when I say no lies are ever detected, I mean it. She is super straight. You might not even want to accept the way she speaks but you can’t deny the truth that is coming out.  She is the real deal.  I try not to hit the “Good Day” moments every morning because when I do hit she always has the exact word for what I am dealing with.  She speaks on owning your stuff and stop allowing others control over what you do.  So if you are someone who lacks the ability to move forward, hit her Instagram.  You will get the good kick in the ass that you didn’t even know you need it.  But TRUST me you needed it!

Heather Lindsey

So I had to take a little break from Heather for a few months. It wasn’t anything personal but I just take a break from social media folks quite often.  Not only do I attempt to take breaks from it altogether during moments of life, I do encourage others to do the same. Heather Lindsey is a Christian who is also the wife of Cornelius Lindsey pastor of The Gathering Oasis church in Atlanta GA and a mother of 3.  I was directed by a friend to follow her. I went scrolling along to hear what she had to say.  She seems like a genuinely down to earth person who for one will let you know she loves the Lord, she loves her family, and she loves life. I love the way she takes care of herself. That is what caught my eye.  Now I know it would be a thing to say why in the world would you be worried about what she is wearing. It was more than her outfit choices although let’s be clear they are super dope. I followed her at a time when I was struggling from looking like a whole mess calling myself a wife and mother.  Now there’s nothing wrong with struggling but apart of my struggle was saying how I wanted to get me together and yet I did nothing to achieve that goal.  She was so well put together that she challenged me to have balance.  I needed that. I still push for that.  Balance is more attractive than how much the pieces you have on cost.  So for that, she inspires me get it together. I am sure she like we all do have super stressful days.  But she travels by herself at times, travels with her husband, dates him often on date days and date nights, goes on girls trips, baecations, and runs a whole business with the Pinky Promise.  That’s the type of balance that is encouraging to women no matter your background.  Check out Heather Lindsey

I know a lot of folks that are in the church struggle with the ability of loving the Lord and still looking like the promises God said was for you.  I grew up in a church where most folks was looking wayward.  I know that can’t be the promise that God gave to the world.  How can we reach folks looking like “Le’ Struggle” everyday.  I mean everyday maybe, but not everyday.

Jenell B Stewart

She is like the all around mommy mogul.  I know we give credit to all of the other mommy moguls who seem to have like millions of followers but this queen is one to be on the look out for. First of all as an African-American woman it’s always to see chocolate loves that mirror me or my kids.  She is a lifestyle blogger, a mom, she has a podcasts, teaches lessons on things from growing social media, to balancing life.  I love and stay glued to her InstaStories.  She is just a mom who tries to have it all and do it all.  You know that is possible, right?  Yes.  I found her quite a little while ago and she had me hooked from the first video.  A few key reasons why I follow her, her page is eye-catching.  Please check out her website

It is like everything you need in one strong dose.  Her Instagram is relatable.  With me changing my lifestyle to be healthier a lot of the products that she uses or endorses I have tried and loved.  Andddddd I don’t know how much her whole family is into the healthier lifestyle but mine are taking way smaller doses than I would like.  I like that I can be encouraged that if I alone stick to this lifestyle I at least have someone who is doing it with me in my head!!

Now with these super beautiful women in their own right, I do not even have the slightest energy to be them.  For one like Heather always says, their portion is for them and mine is for me. I do not know what they did to acquire the lifestyle that they have.  However what I will say is that with my portion, I am finding that I am able to do what I need to do for me and be inspired to be the best version of myself because I am just as dope as these women.  However we all need a little nudge in a few departments.  So whether that’s in how you press on, how you take in the culture around you, to be being balanced or living healthy, choose wisely who you link your aspirations too.  They speak volumes of who you are in real life. Check out these beauties and I am sure you will snag a jewel or two from them.  My hope is since Heather has the Pinky Conference is to get to one if not this year, at least next year.  In my head, I am going to meet Amanda.  I hope to keep being inspired by Jenell and Randi and maybe one day meet them as well.

National Family Day

Families are wonderful to be involved in. Families don’t have to be the set parents and siblings that we think they should be.  Family dynamics change all the time. What is important for any family structure is love being in the center. Being in a family and being in close proximity is the fact that there are times when you will be irritated, hurt, or angry with a family member.   How you pick up the pieces is what defines what family means to you.

No One Wins when the Family Feuds

I have been in arguments with family members.  It’s a part of life. Not all family members mesh well. If you are blood related just because you are angry won’t change that you are family.  The issue sometimes comes from when you aren’t.  Not all step families are super welcoming.  Shoot, blood members act fun too so let’s be super clear.  Families feud. I am not just talking about a fight over who is making the mac and cheese for the holiday dinner, I am talking about the types of fighting that would make Love and Hip Hop blush.  Family members can be super messy.  It would be super nice if you’re able to dust yourself off from family spats and pick up as if none of the issues ever happened. People are left bruised and battered by family members and its hard to navigate yourself back into the fold.  The reality time is the biggest thing that you lose when family members fight. You don’t get that time back.  You could be interacting and enjoying one another’s company but a rift can be super damaging. I encourage everyone to attempt to make peace with those that you can. Be aware there are times that even with the best intentions, some folks run out of chances and distance may be the best solution. Learn to wish folks well and don’t speak ill will towards them.

Family Breaks

Some folks opt to take a break or a breather. Some opt to break away altogether and wipe their hands clean.  This is a personal decision. Kids don’t get to know members of the family and the family use the kids to bring the adults back.  There are times if we are honest that some family members are super toxic. Bringing a kid into toxicity if you can avoid it, please do.  It’s one thing to simply not deal with a Family member but to know that if you left your child in a room with a person that all that venom inside of them would spew on a child, those types of things you disconnect from.  I would personally never allow my children around any side of the family if I thought that would be the case.  Why would I as a parent set up my kids who can’t defend themselves around that?  Why would I as an adult want to be around that? If you need a break, take a break.  If you break completely than at least make sure that if you talked it out, you said all that needed to be said. If you can say to yourself I mean whomever no harm and if something happened to them you would be of a clear conscience than so be it. If you can’t there’s work to be done to hopefully reconcile. Toxic situations we should all strive to remove ourselves from them. So no you don’t go around violence, abuse, etc in the name of nobody family or not.  Let’s not ever do that!

two women with man hugging by the sea

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

Marriage Anyone?

Once you get married, you leave your original family structure and become your own unit.  This doesn’t wait until kids are in the midst.  A husband and wife are their own family now.  As tight as a family can be, if you are getting married be prepared to leave your original and cleave to your spouse, this is your new family. You will always be connected to both of your original family but you shouldn’t be at the point where you can’t find health boundaries in how you interact. Marriages have been in shambles because if the original family has the presence made known in the couple’s lives and then dictates their every move, animosity sets in. You should be able to do things as your new structure like vacation, go on date nights, have fun between both sets of family members etc without your original family having to sign off.  I know of couples who were lets say for argument’s sake, the bride only deals with the brides’ side. This is not cool.  Find a way to fuse both sides.  Start your marriage where the couple make decisions together and find ways of agreeing and learn to keep family as a focus but keep them out of your union.  This means stop running your mouth every time something happens and then get mad when the family is mad at your spouse. Your husband shouldn’t feel like you still need your parents or family to agree on decisions and vice versa. You married into, you didn’t marry the individual bonus members of each other’s new family. Make sure your marriage is strong and have fun and do things with each side. No one side should dominate anything. If you aren’t mature to do that, I would advise not getting married.

Now What? Framily?

If you say, but ToiTime I took a break, I walked away from some folks, I keep folks out of my business but continued to enjoy the ones that were willing, but there is a void and I need it filled and my family is just too much.  I would say, look in your inner circle. I always believe we truly do not lose, there is fulfillment with framily. Framily are friends who become family. This doesn’t mean you don’t have family. This doesn’t mean you do more for your friends than your family. The flip to that is too, family will say you are doing too much for your framily but forget the times they weren’t there and a friend had to step in.  This is so real! I have had friends jump quicker than my family members.  This didn’t take away from my family, it meant that who was supposed to be there for me at that time. If there is a pattern of family not being involved, a conversation needs to be had. I would say, if a family member is mad at a friend for stepping in, to the family member ask yourself how often have you stepped in.  Even if the family member in question shuts you out, how often did you pick up the phone, check in, etc?  I was always taught than regardless of how another person acts that you have to be willing to try. So for me that means, I will call when no one answers. I have sent cards to family members and never got a thank you. I sent gifts and never got a thank you, but my heart is clear knowing one I didn’t do it for the recognition and two I have done all I could and if they are okay with doing nothing on their side, I am okay waiting for them to reach out and my reach may temporarily stop.

five women laughing

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

Family I don’t Deal with

Even with all of this wisdom basically from being burned by folks over the years, having my family aka my parents teach me how to handle bad situations there are still family members that I haven’t seen, talked to, or associated with in years.  I will never go into the why especially on an open forum. Regardless of what may have said or done I only can own my part in it and say that anything said I meant and I take full responsibility for my actions.  I take full responsibility because I can never blame a person for what came out of my mouth or what was done.  I don’t live my life waiting to play the blame game.  Those situations were unfortunate but it revealed things about me mostly.  It revealed how easily upset I was.  It revealed parts about things that I thought I had healed and discovered I wasn’t truly healed. So it allowed me to go back into counseling to deal with them.  Its been enough years that whatever sting or grudge I carried and carried it well then is NO LONGER an issue now.  The distance and quietness and simply my own refusal to be apart of the equation was what I needed. It had nothing to do with being mad.  I never want to give anyone the opportunity to ruffle me to the point where I am not in control of my own emotions and responses. However what I am learning is that removing myself and dealing with only me allowed me peace and it made me deal with the negative things that the very family members brought up.  There was truth to the things said so I owned it.  There was lies and misjudgments too. Now that I have owned it no one can roll up and say “but you aint..”My response would be simply, you were right on a few things but now I am good should I ever see them again.  Will I ever see them?  I am sure I will! Am I looking for an apology? Nope I gave myself permission to forgive them and me without getting one.  I dropped the charges at least a year after the big blow up.  Should I have done it sooner? Maybe but I wasn’t ready!  I needed that time to live in that and it forever changed how I operate as a person.

The Incredible Storr 5

What I love about my little family now is that we apologize.  Especially my husband and I towards each other, and with and to our kids. I learned a lot from them as a whole. We get to see the good and the bad sides of each other but we also see each other daily striving to be our best version.  There are a lot of people who would love my portion and I am grateful everyday that we wake up together and get to try to get it right!

My husband and I come from good families.  They aren’t perfect either but we have made up in our house that we will always be a family that keeps the drama to a bare minimal, we keep space in our home and keep peace, we allow our kids to be around same like-minded families, we have fun, we serve and love God, and we try our best even when it looks like we are failing to get it right!  We will always protect the 5 in that home at all cost and that’s from a mental, emotional, and physical standpoint. I have seen my husband take stands with others concerning me and I do the same for him.  And you can pretty much forget it if you think the 3 littles in our home will be in the middle of some mess.  Like Jay’Z said:

“And I don´t have to worry, only worry is him
She do anything necessary for him
And I do anything necessary for her
So don´t let the necessary occur, yep!”

jayz